These dreary months of winter create a conundrum. We want to stay warm, but we don’t want insanely high utility bills. Some of us also experience power outages and need alternate sources to keep our homes heated. Other than curl up in our beanies and parkas while we snuggle on the sofa, what is there to do?
1. Upgrade to a smart thermostat. There is really no excuse not to. All of the utility companies offer great rebates on these, sometimes even ending up free. The benefit is that you can set your thermostat according to when you’ll be home and save significantly by lowering the temp while you’re gone during the day. You can visit our rebates page or just give us a call and we’ll help you figure it out!
2. Consider lowering that thermostat a degree or two. You’d be surprised at how comfortable you can be with your furnace set at 68 degrees as opposed 70 or 71. While it might mean opting for long sleeves over a t-shirt, you’ll save roughly 5 percent on room heating costs.
3. Have an alternative heat source ready. A power outage probably isn’t the way you want to save money, but you should still be prepared. If you have a fireplace, keep wood and kindling on-hand. Have a generator, be sure you’ve got the fuel to run it.
4. Have your HVAC tuned up or repaired. Keep your furnace or heat pump running at peak performance by having it tuned up by a professional. It’s a small expense that could lead to big savings. Among other things, the furnace technician will check the burners and exhaust vents to make sure they are working at top efficiency. Often, simply cleaning the burners can make a noticeable difference in your energy costs, while helping you stay warm.
5. Replace your furnace filters. Changing furnace filters isn’t just about clean air—clogged material can force your unit to work harder, raising energy costs.
6. Open, then close the drapes. Sunlight is a free way to warm up a room, providing you’ve opened drapes and blinds to let it do its thing. When the sun sets, close the drapes to help retain the heat collected during the day.
7. Turn on your ceiling fan. Ceiling fans aren’t just there to keep you cool in the summer. Keeping a fan running clockwise will push the warm air that’s collected near the ceiling back into the room, helping you stay warm.
8. Replace your furnace. Although the initial investment may seem counterproductive, you’ll be surprised at how fast a high-efficiency furnace can pay for itself when compared to an old conventional furnace. There may also be tax incentives and rebates available if you replace an old furnace with a high-efficiency model. Ask us and we’ll help you do the research! You can start by checking our rebates page.
9. Adjust your water heater temperature. Your hot water heater might be wasting more energy than you realize, especially if it’s an older model. For most people, keeping the temperature set at 120 degrees provides plenty of hot water. To save even more, consider adding a hot water heater blanket, which is a layer of insulation that wraps around the hot water tank. It helps keep more heat in and the heating element doesn’t have to run as often.
10. Careful how you cook. Reheating leftovers in a microwave takes less time and uses up to 80% less energy than a standard oven. If you are using the oven, you may be able to turn down the thermostat and let the oven warm your kitchen during meal time.